WASHINGTON, DC — Economist Jared Bernstein called inflation President Joe Biden’s “top national priority” during a call with reporters Monday afternoon, June 6.
Bernstein, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, shared Biden’s plan to fight inflation while touting some of his economic accomplishments since taking office.
He framed the conversation with reporters in terms of headwinds and economic headwinds. Headwinds, like inflation, are things that blow against the growth of the economy. Tailwinds are what push the economy.
“When the president took office, the recovery was at a standstill. COVID was on the ground and almost no one was vaccinated,” Bernstein began. “Today, after a year and a half, with jabs in the arms and checks in the bailout pockets, we have achieved the largest recovery in modern history by many metrics.”
Bernstein reported that the labor market is currently the strongest in the post-World War II era, with 8.7 million jobs added since Biden took office.
“In 2021, we saw the fastest drop in unemployment on record, with a national unemployment rate of around 3.6%, about where we were before the pandemic,” Bernstein said. “That’s years ahead of what forecasters thought was the case.”
Additionally, a recent Federal Reserve report found that a higher percentage of Americans said they felt comfortable at the end of 2021 than at any time since the first survey in 2013.
“It’s pretty remarkable when you think it’s after a few years of COVID – with 2020 being the deepest recession on record since the Great Depression,” he said.
Bernstein said these tailwinds have put the United States in a stronger economic position than almost any other developed country.
“According to the IMF, our economy will be larger at the end of this year compared to its pre-pandemic size than any other in the G7,” he said. “We also expect faster growth this year than China for the first time since 1976.”
Bernstein also shared the president’s three-pronged approach to tackling inflation and other “headwinds.”
Federal Reserve: Bernstein said the president believes in an independent Federal Reserve. He said that when the Federal Reserve uses a “rate hike regime,” presidents often try to get them to change course in order to spur economic growth.
Pricing pressures: Bernstein spoke about the things the Biden administration has done to alleviate supply chain issues, such as reducing the time shipping containers sit in ports. But he said more help from Congress was needed. “We need Congress’s help to ease some of the real strains on family budgets, whether it’s housing costs, prescription drugs, child care or elder care. , or the cost of education,” Bernstein said.
Debt reduction: It is here that Bernstein is most optimistic. “Recently, the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan accountant, projected the deficit to shrink by $1.7 trillion this year, the largest reduction in history,” he said. “Some have disdained this, wrongly, that this is just fiscal policy. This is not correct. It is also driven by much stronger revenue receipts than expected for our treasurer, induced by the economic growth.”
Bernstein also shared state-by-state data on economic progress since Biden took office.
Use: Since January 2021, North Dakota’s economy has added 14,300 jobs. The state’s economy recovered 72% of the jobs lost between February 2020 and April 2020.
The state’s unemployment rate fell from 4.7% in January 2021 to 2.8% in April 2022.
Initial jobless claims have fallen 77% since Biden took office, from around 1,200 at the start to around 270 for the week ending May 28, 2022.
Small enterprises : North Dakota residents have asked to start more new businesses in Biden’s first year in office than any other year since the series began in 2005.
Poverty: North Dakota’s supplemental poverty measure was expected to be 7.6% in 2021, down from 8.6% on a comparable measure in 2018.
The supplemental poverty measure for children under 18 in North Dakota is projected to be 4.3% in 2021, down from 4.8% on a comparable measure in 2018.
Vaccines: The number of fully immunized people in North Dakota has increased from approximately 0 in January 2021 to 425,000 in May 2022.
Use: Since January 2021, Minnesota’s economy has added 108,800 jobs (3.9% of January 2021 Minnesota employment). The state’s economy recovered 79% of the jobs lost between February 2020 and April 2020.
The state’s unemployment rate fell from 4.2% in January 2021 to 2.2% in April 2022. This is the lowest state unemployment rate on record (the series began in 1976).
Initial unemployment insurance claims in Minnesota have fallen 68% since Biden took office, from around 11,000 at the start of the administration to around 3,600 for the week ending May 28, 2022. .
The quit rate, a measure of labor market strength (since people typically quit their jobs to take better jobs), rose from 1.8% in January 2021 to 2.6% in March 2022.
Small enterprises : Minnesota residents have asked to start more new businesses in Biden’s first year in office than any year since the series began in 2005.
Poverty: Minnesota’s supplemental poverty measure was expected to be 4.9% in 2021, down from 8.4% on a comparable measure in 2018.
The supplemental poverty measure for children under 18 in Minnesota was expected to be 2.0% in 2021, down from 5.7% on a comparable measure in 2018.
Vaccines: The number of fully immunized people in Minnesota has increased from approximately 0 in January 2021 to 3,914,000 in May 2022.